Sunday, October 30, 2011

Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs

This is another recipe from Giada's Every Day Italian-Episode Kids Camping-that I wanted to try (my Venetian Rolled Pizza post from 10/25/11 is also from this episode). I've never made ground chicken meatballs, none the less used a recipe with ground chicken in it, so this was a first for me, but not the last because it was sooo good and got high ratings from Ant! This has a light cherry tomato sauce that glazes over the orecchiette with parmesan, so its not too heavy.
Giada's recipe does call for fresh flat leaf parsley, but Ant's not a big fan of parsley so I substituted that for Italian Seasoning instead. My grocer did not have bocconcini mozzarella that day at the store, so instead I used a mozzarella ball that I just cut up into smaller cubes and works just the same!

  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I used Cento flavored breadcrumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 3/4 cup grated Romano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock,  hot
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 ounces bocconcini mozzarella, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, italian seasoning, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano Cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine.
  • Using a melon baller (or a teaspoon measure), form the chicken mixture into 3/4-inch pieces. With damp hands, roll the chicken pieces into mini meatballs.
  • In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer.
  • Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta.
  • Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the basil. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the chopped basil.
Since I cook for two, this leaves plenty of leftovers which is great, because I love when meals make at least 2 meals, especially if its during the work week.  I stored in a Pyrex safe baking dish with a lid, so easy storage in the fridge and then you can either heat up in the microwave or throw in the oven with some extra cheese on top if you wish! Enjoy, Ciao Bella!
Total Time:30 minutes
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
Interval: Intermediate
Serves: 4-6 servings

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Venetian Rolled Pizza

This past Saturday was made up of house hold chores, gym, playing with Hailey, and then meeting our friends at Creamy Acres in Mullica Hill, NJ for some Haunted Hayride adventures. I had seen Giada make this dish on Everyday Italian on her recent episode for Kids Camping and thought I would test it out before unveiling it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving. Helpful tip-I went to our favorite pizza shop and asked for a pound of dough in which most restaurants will sell it, and its typically less expensive than buying dough at the store and not so chaotic as making your own-1 pound cost me $2!! Plus, if you get it at your favorite pizza place, you already know
it’s going to be good!
·         Flour, for dusting
·         1 pound pizza dough
·         2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
·         7 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
·         1 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) torn baby spinach
·         1 table spoon EVOO
·         Kosher salt, for seasoning


·         Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.
·         On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough to a 12 to 14-inch diameter circle, about 1/4-inch thick.
·         Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella over the dough.
·        Arrange the prosciutto over the cheese in a single layer. Sprinkle with the spinach. Top with the remaining cheese.
·         Take 1 end of the circle and roll the dough up into a thin cylinder, gently folding in the ends.
·         Brush the dough with the olive oil and season with the salt (I also added some oregano to the top of it, your choice!)
·         Place the dough, seam side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 23-25 minutes (pending on your oven) until the top is golden brown.
·         Allow the pizza to cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the pizza into 3/4-inch pieces and serve.

Total Time: 36 minutes
Prep: 6 minutes
Cook: 30 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 18-20 slices